Women's safety: Maharashtra to provide necklaces with panic button

Minister Deepak Kesarkar said the government is finalising a scheme under which 'chains' with panic button will be made available at Rs 1,000 or less. Photo: iStock Images

Mumbai: The Maharashtra government will make available 'chains' (necklaces) with a panic button for women which can be used to send a distress signal to police in emergency.

The announcement was made by Minister of State for Home (Rural) Deepak Kesarkar while replying to a discussion on crimes at Ashramshalas (government-funded residential schools) in the Legislative Council here Wednesday.

The minister said the government is finalising a scheme under which 'chains' with panic button will be made available at Rs 1,000 or less.

Women will be able to wear them around the neck.

"Such chains are available in several western countries... In the next one month, the technology will be finalised and we will float a tender," said Kesarkar.

Shiv Sena legislator Neelam Gorhe, who raised the issue, said eight girls were sexually harassed at Minai Ashramshala in Walva tehsil of Sangli district in September.

A security committee should be set up in every Ashramshala for the security of girl inmates, she demanded.

Congress legislators Husna Bano Khalife, NCP's Vidya Chavan and Shiv Sena's Manisha Kayande also expressed concern about safety of girls at Ashramshalas.

Replying to the discussion, Minister for VJNT, OBC and SBC Welfare Ram Shinde said that henceforth, only women superintendents would be appointed in Ashramshalas and hostels for girls.

Also, directions have been issued to appoint committees for dealing with complaints of sexual harassment, as contemplated under the Supreme Court's 'Vishakha judgement,' at Ashramshalas, Shinde said.

In Minai case, 14 Ashramshala staff were suspended and an administrator was appointed, the minister said.

Speaking to the reporters later, Kesarkar said the chains (or necklaces) which the government is planning to make available will have a GPS chip and a button, which, when pressed, will alert the nearest police station.

"A monitoring room would be set up in the police control room so that the woman's location can be ascertained," he said.

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